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When it comes to Tesla Model S Plaid, CEO Elon Musk is not afraid to make bold claims and promises. Sometimes those promises don’t come true—for example, the release dates of the Cybertruck and the second generation Telsa Roadster. Fans can argue that Elon’s promises were broken due to circumstances out of his control. That is a fair point to make, but others could remain skeptical.

On the other hand, some of Elon’s wildest claims have actually turned out to be true. For instance, take the Tesla Model S Plaid. Leading up to the release, Elon said that the Plaid would have the fastest 0 to 60 mph and quarter-mile time of any other production car. A bold claim to say the least, but third parties have tested those claims, and it turns out that he was absolutely right.

The Tesla Model S Plaid has a 0 to 60 mph time of 1.99 seconds (with rollout subtracted) and a quarter-mile time of 9.23 seconds.

With numbers like that, it is no wonder why YouTube is filled with viral videos of Tesla’s dominating other cars in drag races.

How is it that the Tesla Model S Plaid clock such impressive times?

This is why the Tesla Model S Plaid’s 0 to 60 mph is so fast

A red 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid driving down a road
2022 Tesla Model S Plaid | Tesla

While it is true that the Tesla Model S Plaid can get to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds and can click off a quarter-mile time of 9.23 seconds, there are a few caveats to consider. First of all, when Tesla tested these times on the Model S Plaid, they were at a drag strip with a prepared surface. That means the strip was sprayed down with a special compound that improves traction.

Second, the Model S Plaid quarter-mile time of 9.23 seconds is only achieved after the car engages two modes. The first is “dragstrip mode.” Dragstrip mode is when the Model S Plaid optimizes the temperature of the electric motors and the battery pack. According to Donut Media, the process takes between 8 and 15 minutes.

The second mode Tesla used for their quarter-mile testing is something they call “cheetah stance.” This mode lowers the front end of the car by two inches, allowing it to maintain grip during the launch. The cheetah stance takes 8 to 10 seconds to complete.

When all those conditions are met, and when the Model S Plaid is in the right environment, it can achieve the numbers claimed by Elon Musk.

All things considered, it seems like the Model S Plaid is nearly impossible to beat. That is almost true. Donut Media has a few ways that someone can beat a Tesla Model S Plaid at the dragstrip.

How to beat a Tesla Model S Plaid in a drag race

According to the video, there are a few ways (in theory) to beat a Tesla Model S Plaid in a drag race. Unfortunately, most of their proposed methods can be considered “morally dubious.”

The first method involves the “cheetah mode.” At most drag strips, an official starts the race after he sees that both cars are properly staged. Once they are, they hit the button, and 2 seconds later, the light goes green. Remember, it takes 8 to 10 seconds for cheetah mode to activate, and it can only be initiated after the car comes to a complete stop. So, you can tell your Tesla-piloting opponent that you will wait for their cheetah mode to activate but totally lie and gun it when the lights go green. We told you these methods are morally dubious!

The second way is much more straightforward and technically does not involve lying. All NHRA-sanctioned dragstrips have strict rules and safety regulations. Many of those regulations are based on the performance of the car. For example, any vehicle capable of completing a quarter-mile in less than 9.99 seconds needs to be equipped with a roll cage, parachute, and driveline shielding. The driver also needs to wear a fire suit and have a special license.

A Tesla Model S Plaid does not come stock with any of the aforementioned safety equipment and chances are most Telsa drivers will not have a fire suit or that special license. So, if you are ever at an NHRA-sanctioned track and someone in casual clothes and a stock Model S Plaid wants to race, you can just inform the safety marshal and they’ll be disqualified.

It’s distasteful but it would work! If someone really wants to beat a Tesla Model S Plaid in a drag race then they can always just buy a Rimac Nevera. That should do the trick!


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